The MSBA has one of the lowest dues rates of any voluntary state bars in the country. The MSBA has needed to be fiscally conservative in order for it to maintain its low dues rate. While remaining competitive from a dues perspective, the MSBA has made significant enhancements over the past year and more enhancements are planned for the months to come.
The MSBA performs advocacy work on behalf of the profession and public interest, working with legislators and the judiciary; supports numerous public interest entities, including programs such as the MSBA High School Mock Trial Competition – produced by our educational arm in Maryland schools, the Citizenship Law-Related Education Program – in which 2,000 Maryland high school students participate; provides the Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP) to support members who are facing substance abuse and other mental health and addiction issues; produces CLE Programs and Publications on Maryland law in a variety of practice areas; provides access to online legal research through Fastcase; maintains and provides access to section listservs, and much more. The MSBA also seeks to represent a very diverse profession and deliver value to its members while also ensuring access to justice.
Each year, the MSBA develops a budget via its Budget & Finance Committee, comprised of volunteer attorneys focused on ensuring appropriate spending takes place. Each month, the Board of Governors reviews MSBA financial results. The most recent monthly financial statement can be located here.
Over its history, the MSBA has had several years of annual surpluses which created cash reserves from which MSBA can draw to facilitate strategic investments and years with a planned deficit. In the most recent completed fiscal year, the MSBA achieved excess revenues over expenses (“profitable” in corporate terms) and budgeted a deficit for the current fiscal year in anticipation of the modernization of MSBA technologies and investments in creating more member value. The MSBA 2017 Financial Report can be viewed here.
In this past year, the MSBA has embarked on a modernization effort and earmarked a portion of its reserves in order to make needed investments in infrastructure, communications, publishing, CLE, and operations to enable delivery of greater value to members and the profession. This includes development of new online tools for Sections, greater content for members to access via mobile devices and much more. These strategic investments are the first such investments MSBA has made in the past 15-20 years.